Palestinian activists have erected a monument to the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya.
The monument, revealed in a ceremony last week, depicts Hussein in a bowler hat pointing a rifle in the air, while flanked by the Iraqi and Palestinian flags, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The Arab Liberation Front, a Palestinian group belonging to the Palestine Liberation Organization with previous ties to Hussein, built the structure, as it has in several other Palestinian towns.
Qalqiliya District Governor Rafea Rawajbeh, a member of the ruling Fatah movement; Arab Liberation Front secretary Rakad Salem; and Qalqilya City Council member Hani Ja'idi all attended the ceremony, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"Saddam was an emblem of heroism, honor, originality, and defiance," Rawajbeh said during the event, which featured speeches in praise of Hussein.
Many Palestinians have long admired Hussein, who supported them for many years and gave millions of dollars to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada, which began in 2000. Hussein also fired several dozen Scud missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.
In 2001, Hussein's government offered $25,000 to family members of Palestinian suicide bombers who conducted attacks against Israelis while maintaining a list of more than 40 volunteers who were part of the "Martyrdom Project," whose goals included "liberating" Jerusalem from the Jewish state, according to a Pentagon-sponsored report released in 2008.
Iraq under Hussein's leadership was one of seven nations the State Department listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. The dictator was notorious for brutalizing and repressing the Iraqi people and propped up extremist groups.
Hussein's downfall came after an American-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003 and deposed him. The ousted leader was executed in 2006.
Published under: Iraq